Traces of the Absent focuses on videos that accentuate the relationship between being physically, identifiably present or absence through human action. Does a figure need to be visibly discernible to be present? Subtle and quiet, forceful or complex, this series explores artists making work through footprints of manipulation, or through silent presence.

Julie Gemeund uses nature as a space of intimate interactions. Through careful meditative gestures, she marks her body for brief moments of time that soon cease to exist. Keaton Fox forcefully ruptures a familiar visual illusion while mirroring the world in it’s fragmented, broken state. This piece investigates the effects that image presentation (via mirror) and image preservation (via camera) have on visual perception in the digital age. Through various interactions with the larger community, Justyna Gorowska creates a conceptual work that presents a fictitious lost self and ostensibly attempts to secure her retrieval. Helen Kirwan paces a sparse landscapes performing futile tasks that reveal a form of inward keening. The tasks become an absurd meditative beckoning for memories, reappearance or presence.

SAT 4 JUN 2016


“Fragment and Trace”

Fragment and Trace is a two channel video installation about a person mourning the sudden loss of a loved one. In mourning, she paces across sparse featureless landscapes. She picks stems off dead weeds and places sticks in the snow to measure the ground. This absurd and futile task reveals a form of inward keening. Through these repetitive and meditative tasks she aims to summon her loved one back to consciousness, shifting memories of the past into an experience of the present. She knows the futility of this process; its absurdity and its exquisite agony. 2015 00:23:42

Helen Kirwan (UK)
Helen Kirwan

Helen Kirwan is a British – Irish conceptual artist. She practiced law as a barrister for nearly twenty years before becoming an artist full time. Kirwan’s practice explores mourning and the portrayal of grief, drawing on her own experience of a sudden and unsettling loss. Experimenting with different media, from installation, to moving image, drawing and mapping, she aims to portray “the physical traces of mourning, which manifest themselves through absurd and futile activity”. Recurring themes in her work are memory and memorial, and fragment and trace. Kirwan’s work is informed by early German Romanticism, particularly the work of Friedrich Schlegel (1772-1829). Schlegel’s understanding of the fragment as a literary form, reveals a deep subjective idealism which the artist draws on in her work



Through performance-based video, Imprint addresses the relationship between two landscapes, one outside the self, the other within. Using the body as a conduit and a canvas, the project considers the intrinsic nature of this dynamic by imprinting the landscape upon human flesh. 2015 00:08:00

Julie Gemuend (Canada/USA)
Julie Gemuend
Julie Gemuend is a Canadian artist. She studied visual arts with an emphasis on photography and video at the University of British Columbia and Brock University as well as Ryerson University in Toronto, where she received her Master of Fine Arts. Her practice is aligned with a number of intersecting movements that emerged in the 1960s, including body art, performance-based video, and land art. In her work, Gemuend aims to explore our profound connection with the natural world. She employs her body to speculate on theories concerning the self, space and the relationship between interior and exterior landscapes.



This work by Keaton Fox investigates the fragility of human perception in the digital age by questioning the interaction of visual representation and preservation strategies. Cameras as well as mirrors are important devices used to compartmentalize our overwhelming reality – feeding our contracting attention spans to create a numbing feeling of trust. We grow accustomed to this filtered perception and its rigid gaze, but the slightest offset in such an elusive system opens horizons that are drifting out of focus. Merely a shattered reality remains, occluding the actual intrusion vector and the extent of damage within the supervising system. 2015 00:02:33

Keaton Fox (USA)
Keaton Fox

Keaton Fox is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work reflects and distorts the varied realities of the Information Age. Fox studied Art Video at Syracuse University and her work has received international recognition, having been exhibited in countries such as France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, and in multiple cities across the United States. She recently moved to Detroit after working as a Teaching Media Artist at Cambridge Community Television in Boston, MA. In January, she will be an artist-in-residence at the Alys Foundation, where she was invited to create a site-specific installation for Digital Graffiti 2016.